Britain's Chartered Institute of Marketing predicts the nation's marketing spend will rise by three per cent in 2004. The forecast, based on a membership survey, is bullish despite reservations.

Says CIM international chair Tess Harris: "After nine months of violently fluctuating expectations, it appears that levels of confidence have settled down and now match those of mid-2002. These results indicate we can expect a recovery but it will not be as speedy as previously hoped."

Overall, the respondent companies intend to increase marketing spend by 3% while achieving sales growth of 5.6%. Of those surveyed, 26% anticipated an increase in the number of marketing staff and 9% expected a reduction.

BDO Stoy Hayward partner Andy Viner told online journal BrandRepublic: "Clients are reporting an increase in permanent recruitment activity, which reverses the recent trend of laying off staff and using freelancers over the past 18 months. However, any optimism should be tempered with caution -- agencies are still facing margin pressure and recovery is likely to be gradual rather than dramatic."

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff